Talking about the Pacemaker

Its weird how I missed out on all the hype for the launch of the Pacemaker. People were even doing unboxings for the launch. I think this guy is right, the pacemaker is a fantastic device but its not quite a revolution, djs are not going to just drop what they have been doing for it. It may however attract a whole new group of people like the sweetie whos doing the review above, to maybe give it ago. If they really want to get a more general crowd the price will have to come down.

I've been checking out some of demos and tutorials and I'm still impressed but there are a couple of things which I didn't know before hand which is a little off putting. The first one is the music management, 120gig of music navigatable in only about 6 ways – this is a worry but obviously theres no keyboard so searching for tracks is going painful. Luckly it does support Mpeg3, Ogg Vorbis, Flac, Wav, etc but exactly how open device is the device? It seems to me that you can edit the filters and stuff but only using their own propitery software which is Windows and Mac only. So that really screws over someone like myself, although I guess I could run it virtualised – maybe? I heard there is a auto BPM feature but does it syncronise beats too? The loop system seems a little less automatic. One of VirtualDj features is the Automatic beat-aware LOOP function, which makes loops quick and easy.

Pacemaker Editor

I can not for the life of me work out if while recording the mix live, it also saves a metadata file of what actions you made during the mix. It does seem to keep a track of what tunes you used and in which order but does it keep times too? Currently in Vitualdj I keep a playlist open and everytime I use a tune, I also try to remember to add it to the playlist too. Then I can export it as a M3U list. Some of you might say the alternative is just a pen and paper, but it should all be automatic and live alongside the raw wave file. Maybe SMIL or XSPLIF could make sense here? Ok last thing I noticed which is a little off putting is the lack of multitouch. A trigger is a key which pushes the crossfader to the far left or far right. These are very useful for doing very fast cuts into the music. If the was multitouch, you could doing some combination like hold down the left side of the crossfafer (maybe with a thumb) and press on the right with a finger. It would then be clever enough to notice the action as a cut or trigger. Otherwise just a couple extra buttons for triggers could have been useful. Currently you have to slide from one side to another but this can get quite tiring if doing lots of cuts. Generally a multi-touch pad and some keys could allow some interesting uses when editing a loop or fx.

I think I'll get a pacemaker in the end, virtualdj is the only reason why I still keep windows on my laptop. The gnu/linux dj software are so far off its not even funny. So this would be good. I looked on ebay and there selling for more that the online store price. I do wish it had Bluetooth Stereo but I can attach my dongle to the headphone socket for use with my bluetooth headphones/headset. Its good to see it will charge over USB too, so I won't have to carry a heavy power adapter around with me if I went on Holiday. But I can't help but feel version 2 is just around the corner.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.